April 2016 • Volume 15, Number 1
Cliff Notarius on a green roof
Photograph (details below) by Skip Brown
Maryland counties surrounding the Chesapeake Bay. Map created by Sandy Rodgers on a base map from vectorstock.com
When it rains in Washington, D.C., city streets and roofs funnel water and pollutants into storm drains, a flow that eventually reaches the Chesapeake Bay. Urban stormwater is the fastest-growing source of the excess nutrients and sediments that degrade the estuary's water quality. Like some other cities, Washington chose a multi-pronged solution that relies on both traditional engineering, like improving its sewage-treatment plant, and a newer approach known as green infrastructure. Workers install rain gardens and green roofs to create pockets of natural landscape across the city that can soak in rainfall and reduce stormwater flows. Can the green methods make enough of a difference to improve water quality? City officials are working to find answers.  more . . .
Pieces of a giant tunnel-boring machine are lowered and assembled underground. Credit: DC Water
It's costing billions, but it's the biggest public-works project you'll never see. Washington, D.C., is building 18 miles of underground tunnels to store sewage-system overflows, a fix that could help improve water quality in the Chesapeake. Giant tunnel-boring machines are building shafts large enough to fit a Metro rail car.  more . . .
Fresh produce grows year-round inside plastic-covered greenhouses. Credit: Wendall Holmes, Strength to Love II
An innovative experiment tried to find out if soaking up and cleaning stormwater runoff with plants and trees helped to revitalize struggling neighborhoods in ultra-urban West Baltimore. The answer could sell cities on green solutions to their urban stormwater woes.  more . . .
U.S. Capitol Dome
This year four Maryland students will work for NOAA to help the federal government develop marine policy.  more . . .
Bernie Fowler
This February three states passed resolutions to honor long-time Chesapeake Bay advocate Bernie Fowler. more . . .
Photo, top: Mark Shanahan of the Friends Committee on National Legislation shows the green roof atop the group’s building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The group installed the roof in 2005 to reduce cooling costs and stormwater runoff. In 2007 the roof and other renovations earned the building a LEED certification (given to environmentally sustainable buildings), the first building on Capitol Hill so honored.
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